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Extend Sequence | The Journal of Montreal


The last time CF Montreal faced Atlanta United FC, they began a five-game unbeaten streak in MLS.

This happy streak could be extended to six this afternoon when Atlanta is the visitor at Saputo Stadium. Add to that a draw in the Champions League in the meeting preceding this draw of 3 to 3 in Georgia, on March 19.

If the team were to pick up at least one point this afternoon, it would tie a club record with a sixth game without defeat in MLS.

“Five in a row unbeaten is a good number and it’s the kind of statistic that is necessary to reach the playoffs,” insisted Alistair Johnston.

“But the most important thing is to collect the three points at home. »

And yet, the match in Atlanta had left a very bitter taste in the mouth of the team, which had a two-week break afterwards to digest all that.

Advance lost

“This match was the most difficult to digest of the season, recognized Alistair Johnston. But we were able to turn it into a positive and we fed on that.

“We were able to refocus and we applied the principles of the coach. »

To understand, you have to know that, against all odds, Montreal had forged a 3-1 lead in the first half. Things turned in Montreal’s favor again when Dom Dwyer received a red card in the 67and minute.

But Atlanta rolled up its sleeves and the Montreal chain gave up. The locals scored in the 85and minute and tied the game in stoppage time (90+2).

“We had the game under control and we shot each other in the foot. It’s a lesson we learned, ”assured Rudy Camacho. »

In control

We understand even better why the pill was hard to swallow when Wilfried Nancy maintains that his team played a good match despite the disappointing outcome.

“What I liked in the first game was the way we kept the ball at 11 against 11. I felt like my players were in control and calm with the ball. »

And yet, the team could have liquefied after such a disappointment, but the draw instead crystallized the efforts of the group.

“It’s hard not to remember how that game ended,” Johnston said. It was heartbreaking, but it kind of felt like it had to be, especially when third base came in. That was our story at this point in the season. »

“Now we’ve found our way to go with several games unbeaten. »

Learning

As Wilfried Nancy is a trainer at heart, he chose to take the situation as an apprenticeship to pass on to his team. He opened the discussion so that everyone contributes to the search for solutions.

“I gave the floor to the players when we came back to the match. I wanted to hear their feelings. »

And his men were able to bounce back so that last week, against the Philadelphia Union, which is the best team in the East, he did not flinch despite being one goal behind.

“I really liked how we kept the ball against Philadelphia which is a team with a pretty high expected goal rate. We were able to prevent them from having chances in the last 15 minutes.

In the last game, the players felt good. They knew that even if we conceded a goal, we could come back. »

Decimated by wounds

Atlanta United FC is a decimated team, but no one at CF Montreal is going to take it lightly.

In the space of a few weeks, the Georgia team lost three top players for an extended period.

Josef Martinez (knee) is expected to be out for another four to six weeks. The news is less good in the case of goaltender Brad Guzan, whose season ended with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira also suffered an Achilles tendon injury.

Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso tore his inner cruciate ligament and will not play again this season.

Attention

Wilfried Nancy raised a red flag when it came to the injuries affecting the opponent of the day.

“Be careful, we must not look at their history. They have good players and a clear plan. They like to have the ball and they are not going to change their game because they have injuries. »

Alistair Johnston mostly talked about bad luck when describing what’s happening in Atlanta.

“They’re probably the most unlucky team injury-wise in the last 15 months.

“I remember playing them last year and it was like playing against Atlanta FC 2. Despite everything, they are able to compete. »

Almost a rung

By marking the 131and goal of his career against Philadelphia last week, Kei Kamara came within two goals of Jaime Moreno and the 4and place among the top scorers in MLS history.

“I know because he keeps talking about it in the locker room,” Alistair Johnston said with a laugh. He talks about it a lot and even Victor has started talking about it. I’m expecting two from him this weekend. »

Joking aside, he praised his teammate who seems to be really appreciated in his new locker room.

“It’s a testament to his longevity. He is 37 years old, but he does not do them. It still moves fluidly. If I’m still in this shape at 37, I’ll be very happy. »


SOCCER-USA/

The adversary in 5 points

CF Montreal will surely not complain about the fact that Josef Martinez will not be in uniform this afternoon. The Venezuelan is again Atlanta’s leading scorer with two goals and two assists in five games.

In the absence of number one goaltender Brad Guzan, Atlanta isn’t too badly taken with Bobby Shuttleworth. The 34-year-old veteran started several seasons with New England, Minnesota and Chicago.

Despite the injuries, Atlanta continues to do well and is in 4and rank in the MLS Eastern Conference with 11 points and a record of three wins, three losses and two ties. It’s tougher on the road with a 1-3-0 record.

Atlanta’s season is going up and down and the Georgian team has failed to line up two straight wins. After a three game unbeaten streak, she has just gone three without a win and has been shut out twice.

We can not say that the attack of Atlanta breaks everything this season with ten goals in eight games, including three against CF Montreal. And abroad, it’s even worse with two very small successes in four games.



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